5 Elements to consider for successful paperless adoption

By Mia Papanicolaou

We recently analysed the execution of paperless strategies for a company that was struggling to increase paperless adoption among its clients. They had actioned all the advice provided, so what was the issue? After conducting an analysis we found that there were gaps in the implementation, which led to a below average customer take up of the paperless service.

Some of the areas we looked at (and you should too):

1. How are email addresses collected/updated?

Every channel, medium and outlet you have at your disposal should be used to collect email addresses. Where possible, also verify and update the information already captured. Updating these details is especially important when you’re dealing with what is deemed to be old data.

All too often we expect customers to tell us when details have been changed. This doesn’t always happen…

Think about updating details when:

A customer calls in to the call centre: Have the agent ask for an email address or verify the email address at the end of every call.

A customer logs into your portal: Execute campaigns that ask them to verify details before they continue.

A customer pays online: If they use a different email address when paying online, ask if you can update the email address on file with the one they’ve chosen for payment.

A customer visits an office / store: Use this as an opportunity to update or verify details.

2. How many valid email addresses are on file?

This may seem like an obvious item to consider. However, many companies (like the one in question) have email addresses on file that they consider to be ‘old data‘, so don’t consider using it in a paperless strategy.

Why discard data that a customer has already given you? You should still email this base, maybe not to gain consent right away, but certainly as a way to confirm they still want to hear from you in this medium.

3. How well do your consent emails perform?

If you’re sending consent emails, are they getting customers to turn off paper? If you have a low percentage uptake (anything in single digits), you should think about redesigning those emails and testing various elements such as subject line, layout, call-to-action placement and appearance. All these elements impact the action or reaction the customer has to the email.

Something else to consider is whether a significant portion of your base is reading your emails on a mobile device. If you’re not taking mobile into consideration, this could be a lost opportunity, as badly designed emails will result in a customer deleting the email rather than taking action.

4. Do you send consent emails on an ad hoc basis?

Emails aimed to gain paperless consent need to be triggered after an interaction with your company (providing an email address, updating an email address, making a payment online) and thereafter triggered at specific times if no action is received.

Don’t assume that a customer doesn’t want to go paperless because you emailed them once and they took no action. People are busy and your email may not have been on top of their list on that day. We see take up rates of up to 10% in subsequent triggered campaigns.

5. How do customers get to know about your paperless service?

What are you doing to educate your customers about going paperless? The message should be consistent and repeated across all communications and touch points. Don’t merely rely on customers visiting your site to see a tiny button that says ‘save the environment’, or expecting that one email you’ve sent to do the job.

Include clear messages about going paperless:

  • On their paper bill with an easy way to enroll
  • On your website – be loud and clear throughout, not only when they log into the portal
  • On the payment site / page
  • When a call centre agent speaks to clients
  • On social media sites

There are many elements that affect paperless adoption. An idea alone won’t help increase customer take up rates. It’s how you implement those ideas and whether you test various elements to see what works with your client base that will make the difference.

Mia Papanicolaou is COO at solutions provider Striata.